How to tell your toddler about going to the hospital?
Be open and honest when explaining hospital treatments to your little one.
Our son has to go into hospital soon to correct an umbilical hernia. He’s four, so how much do you think I should tell him about what will happen, and how do I keep him from running around too much as he recovers?
Being open with your son about what’s going to happen – and being relaxed about it yourself – will help the whole process. There’s a wide range of books for children about going into hospital, and some might be available from your local library. Looking at one together can be a starting point for a discussion about what will happen.
With young children, hernia surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis with no overnight stay in the hospital. Most of them resume normal activities about seven days after surgery, with their doctor’s approval. Until that time, your son should avoid strenuous activity such as bicycle riding and climbing, so make sure you have a few quiet toys to hand such as puzzles, games, DVDs and books to help keep him entertained when he first gets home. But it’s best not to restrict his movement too much once he starts to get better – be guided by his mood and how he feels after the op.